Glassnode data shows that Bitcoin’s latest rejection around the $23,800 level coincided with the cost base of a particular whale group.
Whales purchased after December 2018 have a cost base of $23,800
According to Glassnode’s latest weekly report, all three whale groups under consideration here went under for a while after the FTX crash happened last year.
The relevant indicator here is the ‘realized price’, a price derived from the realized limit. This capitalization model for Bitcoin assumes that the true value of each coin in the circulating supply is not the current BTC price (as the market cap says), but the price at which it last moved.
When this limit is divided by the total number of coins in circulation, the realized price is obtained. The importance of this metric is that it represents the average purchase price in the BTC market.
This means that when the normal price of Bitcoin falls below this realized price, the average holder falls into a state of loss. This realized price is the average cost basis of the entire market, but the indicator can also be defined for specific parts of the market.
An important cohort for any cryptocurrency is the “whale” group, which, in the case of BTC, includes all investors who hold at least 1,000 coins in their wallets. Since this group is large and diverse, Glassnode has divided it into three subgroups to study the most favorable realized prices in different eras.
The analytics company has divided these groups by using different acquisition starting points for each. For the first group, the cutoff is July 2017, the launch of cryptocurrency exchange Binance.
For the second, it’s December 2018 (the lows of the previous cycle’s bear market), and for the last, it’s the March 2020 COVID bottom. To find out at what exact prices these whales bought their coins, Glassnode has here only barter transactions are taken into account (since this cohort mostly uses these platforms for buying and selling).
Here is a chart showing how the cost bases of these Bitcoin whale subgroups have changed over the years:
The realized prices of the different whale subgroups in the market | Source: Glassnode's The Week Onchain - Week 10, 2023
As shown in the chart above, the 2017+ era whales have their realized price at around $18,000 right now, suggesting that the average whale that acquired their coins between today and 2017 is currently in a state of profit.
However, the 2018+ and 2020+ whales currently appear to be taking losses as their realized prices are $23,800 and $28,700 respectively. Interestingly, the resistance Bitcoin has been facing lately is roughly on par with the cost base of the former group of whales.
This is clearly visible in the chart, which shows that the latest rally has come to a halt, as the price of the cryptocurrency has reached this level. In the past, such cost-base levels tended to resist price because investors who had previously lost money saw such levels as ideal selling windows.
At the time of writing, Bitcoin is trading around $22,400, down 4% over the past week.
Looks like BTC is still moving flat | Source: BTCUSD on TradingView
Featured image by Maxim Hopman on Unsplash.com, charts from TradingView.com, Glassnode.com